Friday, April 30, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
After a bit of rest we got ready for our big Friday night. We had tickets to see Bomba Estereo, an electric Cumbia band from Bogota. They are pretty well known in this part of the world, but the concert was in a tiny place called El Deck which is more of a bar than a place to have concerts, but they managed to squeeze in way more people than any fire code would have allowed. Oh wait, what fire code?
El Deck is a really cool place, with a nice outside and inside bar, and shiny cds making wall art outside. We actually ran into one of Rox's sister's friends and running into people in a new place always makes me sorta excited.
We also had our first celebrety moment brought to you by Juliasabroadblog.blogspot.com. This guy came up to me before Bomba went on and said, Hey! I recognize you from your blog! Ever the skeptic I was amazing at how long I had been out of the game for and thought this guy was using some crazy new pick up line. Um, ok, thanks, I responded thinking all the while that it was crazy that blogging had replaced the, I think I've met you before, pick up line.
Turns out he really has read our blog. As Josh explained to me later, he has all Medellin web content sent to his inbox and our blog ended up in there! So...shout out to that guy...thanks for reading! Sorry I thought you were trying to pick me up!
The concert was amazing. You all should really check out the band if you've never listened to them before. The Cumbia outside of Argentina doesn't make your ears want to bleed, it actually makes you want to dance!!! And dance we did. We were literally soaked through by the time we left the place and thouroughly enjoyed ourselves.
The next day we were tired but headed out to Piedra de Peñol. It is litterally a giant stone, I'll have to post photos later so you can visualize it better (or click the above link), but the stone sits on top of a mountain and is over a thousand steps in the air high and two times as wide at places. Once you slowly climb to the top the view is something out of the land before time, or maybe the Hobbit. The resevoir below is dotted with little islands. Some are covered only in trees, some with houses, and sail boat and jet skis break up the serene surface and many inlets while others remain isolated and in perfection. We had a beer and then hiked up to the highest point on the man made structure and enjoyed the quiet and the view for quite a while. It was really incredible. Afterwards we headed to the town below where all the bottoms of all the buildings are decorated with colorful bas relief pictures of flowers, horses, la piedra, ect. We had a nice lunch near the water, and I finally got to order the fish that Rox had gotten in Santa Fe, and we headed back to Medellin full and tired from our upwards and downwards hikes. That night we made it as far as Pizza 1969 Gourmet where I filled my not even very hungry belly with amazing and creative pizza and then we rolled ourselves into bed.
The next morning we awoke early to a feast. Roxi's parents had made pan de yuka in the shape of horse shoes, arepas filled willed juicy pulled beef amazingness, fresh fruit, fresh juice, all the black coffee a girl could ever need and one more morning with their amazing family. It was way better than the pancake breakfast we had made them the morning before, but its not our fault Colombian breakfasts are so awesome. Being with Rox's family was an amazing experiance I'll never forget. They welcomed us into their home and made us feel at home at all times. It was the next best thing to being with my own family after so long away from a mom or dad. Anyway, if you haven't gotten it by now they were amazing.
We spent our last hours watching Frisbee and then headed to the bus station for the last long ride. We were super sad to say goodbye to Roxi, but the promise of the beach lurks ever closer in the background urging us onwards and fowards. By dark we had entered to cold mountainy area where one finds Bogota...
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Friday, April 23, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
After over two months of life without Ultimate we got quite the dose when we arrived in Medellin. Our first night in town we hit up the small field next to the big soccer field where a Medellin team was playing. While I knew the roars coming from the crowd weren't for Ultimate, but for its more popular cousin, I was excited none the less! We grabbed some beers and papas criollas from a stand outside the field and headed into the stands. That's right Ulitimate players of Argentina. They play on a lit field, at night, with stands. Its amazing. They also have A and B levels of play and way more than four teams. While I will love Ultimate in Argentina forever, I can now only imagine how a newly arrived Colombian feels when they arrive at their first pick up in BA.
We watched the end of one game and then another and it was fun to soak in who is a member of the Ultimate seen in Medellin. As usual it is a diverse crowd and there are a lot more young people hanging around Ultimate than in BA. Of course its an alternative scene but also very very sporty.
The next night we headed to a smaller sandy field where I practiced with Wicca, Rox's team, and Josh practiced with the boy's team that shares their practice field. I hadn't gone for so much as a jog since Salta, and needless to say I am still very sore two days later. But I had an amazing time playing, and I got to play with all girls for the first time!!! I also almost had an excersized enduced asmtha attack...but what's new. The girls on Rox's team are amazing, fun loving and mostly very athletic even though I'm sure most of them never played a sport before they found Ulitimate. It made me so excited to find a team in Philly!!
At the end of the practice Roxi had some really bad news. For those of you who haven't heard, a 16ish year old girl named Carolina in Bogota made a bad lay out and died later in the hosital from injuries to her head. Her funeral was two days ago, and I just wanted to tell anyone who hadn't seen anything about it on Facebook. I've never been very good at knowing the right thing to say in situations like this, so I'll leave it at I was shocked and upset that something like this happened in a sport like Ulitmate or at all and that I can't imagine what her family is going through and I think its amazing how the Colombian frisbee community is handling it just as that, as a big nationwide Ulitmate community.
After the practice we all headed over to a place where they sell Avena, a drink made by blending oatmeal, milk and cinnamon and everyone hung around for a while until we drove home and I passed out hard and woke up in pain the next morning. All in all it was an amazing evening, tainted by some bad news, that still made me so excited to get back to Ultimate in the States.
Santa Fe is the oldest town in the department of Antioquia where Medellin is located and before Medellin stole the spot light it was the capital. As soon as one arrives in St. Agustin you can see that this is old history. The modern construction boom, public transport, paved streets, non of that even made it here to this little colonial town that sits below Medellin. Due to its location it is also hot. Really hot. The whole day I was dripping with sweat, sunscreen and lord knows what else but I still loved it. We headed to the main square that has a feria selling crafts, fruits, and sweets local to the town. We tried a few and then hit up a local place for lunch. Josh went with the menu del dia (meatballs), I got the talapia, but Rox won best choice of the day with robalo, an amazing fish that I can't wait to order next time I see it.
We then headed out into the heat and slowly walked around the town. Everything was closed, and every museum we passed was permanently closed, but there were enough churches and little plazas to keep us occupied.
Rox told us a funny story about the monument below:
The guy on the top was a conquistador and in charge of Santa Fe de Antioquia at some point. He took a native wife who you can see below, and on the other side of the monument his Spanish wife is also memorialized in bronze.
However, when you take a closer look the story gets good. Even juicy. When the native wife found out about the Spanish wife she went into a rage and supposedly cut off her husbands penis, tesitcles and all according to the monument. You go girl..
(the streets are deserted because EVERYONE is reclining in a chair watching the Barcelona game)
So we made it back tired, hot and in need of rest, but still white as ever. That night we went to an amazing salsa place where the band is a group of young people who apparently show up when it moves them. They don't practice and the roster is a little different evertime you go, and they play an amazing chaos of salsa. Josh and I did dance a surprising amount for how soar we still are from frisbee practice, and I'll like to say that by the end of the night we had a few steps down pat. We have a long way to go, but I'd say we've also come a long way from the first time we tried to dance salsa together in BA.
*Thank you to my Lonley Planet for historical info on the Puente de Ocidente that I couldn't remember on my own.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
We arrived in Medellin on a sunny sunny morning. Rox picked us up in a car (amazing), and we headed to the apartment where she lives with her parents on a nice, quiet street in Medellin. I love the apartment for a few reasons. Of course it is nice, and the view is amazing (especially at night), but my favorite part is that it is full full full of fresh fresh fruit. There also seems to be every type of fruit ever created here, but every time we are introduced to a new fruit we are told that there are like...3 more varieties of this one fruit not present let alone the other ten kinds in the fruit bowl.
We headed out into Medellin, walked around and then headed into their beautiful metro system. This system puts DC's to shame. It is the cleanest place I've seen in South America, and people are so respectful of each other, the place, and of each other. Roxi said that when they opened it they first did a big ad campaign telling people that this was their metro, and they should want to keep it clean and respect it because its theirs. It worked!!
After a metro ride we did a free transfer to the metro gondalas that go up to the top of the city. Medellin, like La Paz and many other cities we've visited, is in a valley so you have to do a lot of climbing to get to the edges of the city. With the gondola its just a quick, insulated ride above poeple's houses. Lines were huge because this metro line takes people to a new nature reserve that just opened, but lines for it were two hours long so we skipped that and enjoyed the ride.
Roxi's grandma is very cool and fed us lunch and lots and lots of coffee. We all chatted for a while, and then we checked the place out and then relocated to in front of a fire Josh was only too happy to make. Josh taught Roxi how to play truco, and she taught us how to play pinche. It was amazing to be in someone's home, relaxing, and playing cards with someone other than Josh. I didn't realize how starved I had become for families and their homes.
Monday, April 19, 2010
The first one I was just reminded of when I saw a tuperware in Roxi's fridge full of jello (Gabi we are at Rox's house but more on that later!!!) When we got to Bolivia, jello, or gelatina, made an appearence and all through Bolivia and Peru it was the star of the show. I mean these people are wild for gelatina. It comes in all colors, shapes and sizes. You can get it in a cup with cream on top, you can get in in a tube like bag and suck it out, you can get it at a restaurant in a metal cup, or on your bus in styrophone (another star of the show down here but so much worse for the environment than jello). I just thought it was funny to see all the adults sucking jello down like US elementary kids.
But more on Colombia. If I haven't stressed it enough yet this country is seriously amazing (but don't tell anyone - while it would be great for Colombia if you all started visiting it wouldn't be great for me beacause I wouldn't get to be the only gringa here!!!) The variety of everything is outstanding. Because they don't have seasons they grow and harvest ALL YEAR LONG. There is no period of the year when you just can't get something because its not in season. Not only that, but all year long there are so many different kinds of fruits that not even the Colombians seem to be able to remember all their names. They are always asking us which ones we've tried and there always seem to be more and more!! Its the same with the flowers that we saw in St. Agustin. In one person's front yard they had so many varieties growing on their front porch that you almost didn't notice that there were more growing wild in their yard!!!
And the people are just as beautiful and varried as their produce and flowers. People here come in all colors. There are the blackest of black skins and the whitest of whites, but more often it is everything in between. And these people are beautiful - b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l. So far we've only been to two major cities, and the women of Medellin were quick to point out to us that the women of Cali are t-a-c-k-y (sorry Carlos!) but the women of Cali all seem to be in the highest of the high heels and everyone has a mani/pedi - even the men. When I told Rox's sisters that all the women in Cali had flowers painted on their toes they rolled their eyes and said, "See? They are so trashy!" I said they should see the nails in Harlem and they said black women do the same here too with their long-ass crazy eighties nails.
The women of Medellin are a little more classy and so well put together. My poor backpack's contents are doing their best but unfortunatly I do not have a little skinny belt to match all my outfits so I'll never fit in here...oh, and I'm blond, that's not helping either.
According to Rox's friend the city of Medellin has the worst air polution in all of South America, but it is still a beautiful tropic city with the most amazing weather ever. When it's winter is rains more, and when it summer the weather is perfect and sunny. For this reaosn all the women have perfectly tanned bodies that I hope to have too as soon as I get to the beach!!!
And of course, just like our Colombian friends back in BA, the Colombians really do have the best onda. They are always offering their drinks, snacks, ect. to you, they are so happy to show you around, and we are the victems of this amazing Colombian hospitality right now! If we come home fat is Rox's mom's fault. We are staying at their beautiful apartment and this morning she fed us arepas with cheese and eggs and fruit and drinks. I was in heaven!!!! By the way, arepas are a corn flour based food item here in Colombia that is made into a flat disc and fried. You can eat anything you want on it or stuff it with a egg and then fry it again. Needless to say they are amazing.
So expect more posts from Colombia soon!! We are so very happy to be here but as we get closer and closer to the United States we are missing people more and more who are south and north of us. Anyway, its almost time to go to Rox's finca, or farm house where her grandma lives. Don't be too jealous!!!
Saturday, April 17, 2010
When the movie got out we couldn't get in touch with the sister and we didn't have the address, so after hanging out with some kids that work at the mall we headed to one of the hostels in our guide book. Hostel Iguana is located in the nicest neighborhood in Cali and our room had a BIG bed so we sighed and overlooked the 20,000 per person a night fee.
The next day we went exploring. While we had heard not so great things about Cali from non-Colombians the city proved them all wrong. It gave us a sunny sunny day and being a walkable city, we walked it all. We soaked in our first big Colombian city and even enjoyed celebration for the 100 year anniversary of provence's existence with free shots of aguardiente, an orchestra and a group of autistic folk musicians. We then headed back where I discovered that one can get a manicure and a pedicure for 10,000 pesos. That's about five dollars for those of you still catching on. Five dollars. I told Josh and he said get one! I said you should get one too!!! and surprisingly he agreed.
The next day we were tired and the weather was poopy so we hit up the artisinal market and then caught another movie. (Clash of the Titans - all that enthusiasm I have for Date Night...that's how much negative enthusiasm I have for this movie - I know many of you could have told me this anyway but don't see it). We hung out in the hostel and made a salad (salad, I'm so glad you are back in my life, I missed you) and then caught our eleven o'clock bus to Medillin. Here ends our quick visits, from now on we will be staying longer and enjoying more that Colombia has to offer in each city!! And we only have one more long bus ride...
And now for a few photos:
one of my favorite parts about Cali was the plaza filled with small tables and type writters. There were older men sitting at the tables typing away, or chatting and waiting for more business. I think this could be taking off in the States any day now, so dust off your type writer if your out of a job and take it to the streets!!!
Thursday, April 15, 2010
As promised by our brand new Lonley Planet, the scenery is much more interesting than the statues encountered alone the way. As I puffed up hill after hill and my almost atrophied legs burned, I repreated: it about the journey, it's all about the journey, under my breath. And what a journey. Seeing the way people live outside cities has been one of my favorite parts of our jouney and this did not change that. As with the gold miners in Boliva, the poorish farmers (by US standards) of the mountains live surrounded by intensly colorful flowers that people in the States pay good money to import. The front porches were just filled with pots hanging from the ceiling or sitting on the floor just dripping with flowers. And nearby are their coffee or lulo plants and always always a banana tree or two or one hundred. We checked out what a coffee bean looks lime before roasting and by the way, it's white and slimy. Who the hell figured that one out. If anyone knows more about the history of coffee I'd love some comments about it!
After hiking back to town we had lunch and fruit juice at El Folgon and a conversation with Alexander from Switzerland And then headed to the archiological park. The entrance fee is 1500 but worth as the path is nice, they've got a lot of the good statues, and there is a museum exaining everything making our decision not to get a guide a good one.
by far the silliest of the faces
After the park my legs are dunzo but it was great to get out and hike again, something I hope to do more of in the future. We also tried some of the local fruits and fruit juices. The lulo was my favorite even though I'll always be a sucker for limonada. Josh also liked his maracuya juice and his mango juice was a bit watered down for me but tasty none the less. This morning we left St. Agustine and arrived in Cali in time to catch what for us is the new movie Date Night. It's the best movie I've seen in a long time and I think you should all go see it asap. I can't wait to be back in the states thougt for US comedies. Our rediclous slang just doesn't always translate and I'm just always laughing way louder than everyone else. Yes, I'm that girl. But I can't help it. Tina Fey is just so funny. And not to ramble, but besides this movie the high point in my day was eating good tuna fish for the first time since leaving the States. It was amazing... Ok enough for now... I'm just giddy with free wifi!
and back by popular request: pictures of Josh with exotic fruit: